Activities to date
March 2022 - Tree planting. Trees donated by The Woodland Trust were planted by Halifax Estates. These are a significant step in the development of zone 3 in the Plan (see main page). (This is not part of the Jubilee Pasture Project for which we sought support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.)
10 April 2022 - Spring flower planting. Volunteers came to plant donated spring flowers. Snowdrops, aconites and primroses were planted amongst the newly planted trees. Primroses and violets were planted in parts of the existing wooded area where ivy had been cleared. It is hoped that, in due course, these will establish colonies which blend in with the surrounding vegetation. Initially we will probably need to manage the surrounding grass, ivy etc., to give the flowers a chance, so the areas will look more 'gardened' than we hope will be the case in the long term. If these are successful, further patches of spring flowers can be planted in future years.
In a special area of the site near the beck, several shrubs loved by bees were planted by Connor Emery's family in his memory.
Donated flag irises were planted in a temporary position by the beck and will be moved to the pond edge when the pond has been built.
(This is not part of the Jubilee Pasture Project for which we have support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.)
17 May 2022 – Ivy clearing in wooded area. Within the existing wooded area, a small area had been cleared of ground cover ivy, nettles and cleavers/goosegrass, to allow the planting of spring flowers such as violets and primroses. This was expanded and an access path cleared to allow people into enjoy being under the tree canopy without being stung or scratched.
A small number of bluebells, wild garlic plants and wood anemones were later transplanted to this area. We will see next spring whether this has been successful.
13 July 2022 - Preparation for green hay spreading. In order to give the seeds from the green hay (see below) a chance of establishing, the vegetation at Jubilee Pasture was cut and baled, and then the ground was harrowed. Because the timing was determined by when the source hay meadow was to be cut, this had to be done before some of the existing desirable meadow flowers, like great burnet, had seeded. In future years, we intend to cut later to encourage those species.
Due to uneven ground, the edges were mown and the clippings left. This management affects seedling establishment and fertility so it will probably lead to a different plant community developing in this area, compared to the rest of the meadow where hay was cut and removed. That will be interesting to see.
Thank you to David Wardell for the extra work he undertook for the benefit of the meadow restoration
25 July 2022 - Green hay spreading. This is a technique to increase the plant diversity of the site by introducing wildflower seeds in the form of hay which has just been cut from a species-rich meadow of similar soil conditions. We were very grateful to receive three small round bales from Martin Stringer's wonderful meadow, which itself was established using green hay from the very old Poorlands meadow at Bishop Wilton. Thanks to volunteers who responded to our request for help with transport, the bales were delivered to Jubilee Pasture and then spread by further volunteers the same day the hay was cut. It was spread on approximately two thirds of the meadow area and the rest will be sown with seeds collected with a brush harvester from another local meadow.
Hopefully we will see some new species next summer, but it will take years to really see the effects if this has worked. Meadow restoration requires patience, but this was a significant milestone in our project!
3 August 2022 - Pond creation. A pond was created by digging below the level of the beck and building a dam to raise the water level, with a pipe half-way up the dam for the beck to continue flowing beyond the pond. Since this required a digger, the work was undertaken by a contractor, kindly organised by Halifax Estates. Volunteers will sow locally-collected meadow seeds, and plant native marginal plants and shrubs in the cleared area around the pond, when the weather is suitable.
This was another major milestone achieved and we look froward to seeing how the pond is colonised by plants and animals in due course.
10 August 2022 - Meadow seed sowing. The meadow area was divided up into nineteen polygons using sports field markers. At the end of a rather hot day, seed was scattered by volunteers in each polygon. All polygons received yellow rattle seed which had been collected by hand from Martin Stringer's meadow before it was cut for the green hay (see above). This is a hemi-parasite of grasses which is intended to help reduce their dominance and allow other species to establish. Further seed was obtained from Natural England who collected it by brush harvesting at the Lower Derwent Valley National Nature Reserve. This was scattered in all polygons which didn't receive green hay in July, and a few central ones which did. The central polygons therefore received seed from both the Nunburnholme green hay and LDVNNR.
The next step will be to graze the sown areas so the sheep can tread the seed into the soil.
26 August 2022 - Sowing after pond construction. Constructing the pond led to creation of bare areas beside the pond and at the beckside by the road. After harrowing, these were sown with the Lower Derwent Valley seed remaining after the main meadow area had been sown.
Now we need some rain for the seed to germinate, and to allow planting of seeds and cuttings which have been raised over the summer.
3 October 2022 - Plants grown from Lower Derwent Valley National Nature Reserve seed. Back in the spring, we were supplied with some leftover seed which had originally been collected from meadows at LDVNNR a few years ago. This was sown in trays back in the spring. Seedlings of interest were potted on and then cared for by volunteers through the summer. Children from Year 4 at Bugthorpe CE School have now planted them out in the meadow area of Jubilee Pasture, to complement the seed sown earlier in the year. The species are common meadow flowers, some of which are already present but only in low numbers. They are oxeye daisy, lady's bedstraw, hedge bedstraw, ribwort plantain, red clover, black medick and common bird's-foot trefoil. Some of the plants turned out to be species which prefer calcareous soil so they were donated to a site further up the hill where conditions are more appropriate.
mid October 2022 - Cutting and baling. The unusual weather this year has made it difficult to follow the general advice about what to do when trying to enhance a meadow using green hay. We should have grazed after spreading the hay, to help push the seeds into the soil, but the soil was too hard due to the lack of rain. When the rain finally came, some seeds took the opportunity to germinate very quickly, so we were then concerned that grazing would damage them. However, there was also quite a lot of regrowth which would make it harder for them, and later germinating seeds, to establish. After much deliberation, we ended up cutting the regrowth and baling it. We've now got our fingers crossed that this gives enough of the seeds a reasonable chance, and that the weather allows the recommended management next year.
20 November 2022 - Shrub and cowslip planting. Earlier in the year, cuttings were taken from local dogwoods and pussy willows (goat willow). These were potted up and grew well through the summer. Self-seeded cowslips were taken from a garden and grown up in pots. These were planted out at Jubilee Pasture by volunteers.
In addition, some of the vegetation around the newly planted trees was cut with a strimmer and raked up. This proved to be a difficult task because much of the grass was flat. There is therefore much more vegetation left around the trees than in the meadow area. This can provide habitat for different species, but may also hinder regrowth of some less competitive plant species in the spring.
February/March 2023 Planting of pond marginal plants and more shrubs. Additional native shrubs, sourced from Castle Howard tree nursery, were planted alongside the shrubs grown from local cuttings planted in November. Something, probably deer, has damaged some shoots so we'll have to hope that doesn't prevent the shrubs establishing and growing well.
Butterbur was transplanted from Bugthorpe Beck to the beck and pond at Jubilee Pasture. This species flowers very early in the season (March), providing a valuable food source for early insects. It can spread quite quickly in suitable wet conditions, and that should be desirable at this site. Purple Loosestrife grown from British seed (not locally collected) was planted in places where we hope it will benefit from the damp soil but not get washed away when the beck is running fast. Donated stones were placed downstream of the pond dam to try to reduce erosion by water leaving the pipes.
Additional planting around the pond will be completed once the large stones are in position and no more heavy machinery is expected on site. following advice from various conservation organisations, donated plants from ponds will not be used due to the risk of introducing problematic pondweeds to the watercourse.
We hope to have another day for all volunteers soon, now the weather should be getting better and the days longer.
22 June 2023 Erection of tawny owl and bat boxes. Many thanks to Sean, Joe and Roger who managed to attach these heavy boxes high up the trunks of trees on or near Jubilee Pasture. It was no easy task!
Breeding tawny owls can be aggressive so their box was mounted on a tree opposite Jubilee Pasture. Any owls who take up residence can hunt over the site, but not feel threatened by visitors.
The bat boxes are made from used polystyrene mixed with cement, making an insulated and durable home recommended by Robert Fuller (the wildlife artist and expert in nearby Thixendale). They are 'half and half' style so they can be occupied by 'crevice-roosting' pipestrelle bats or 'hollow-roosting' larger species.
Let's hope the boxes provide good homes in years to come! They will be checked periodically, not just out of interest to see if they are occupied, but to ensure they are still safely attached and not damaging the trees.
29 June 2023 Clearing vegetation ready for the bench. Somewhat later than intended, the bench should be installed soon. In anticipation, a team of volunteers came down on a beautiful summer evening to cut back the vegetation in the surrounding area. This also created a tidier area around the memorial plants. Thanks very much to everyone who came down and showed what a difference a group of people can make.
A couple of volunteers also cleared some of the goosegrass/cleavers in the wooded area. After the very encouraging show from the 2022 planting of spring flowers, and then an abundance of red campion (present naturally), in the last few weeks the cleavers had grown phenomenally and was smothering other understory plants. Hopefully removing some before it seeded will facilitate additional plantings of spring flowers in the future.
mid August 2023 Installation of bench and interpretation board. These are key components of the Project which help turn the site from a field into a community space.
The bench is made from stone reclaimed from Scarborough Bridge in York. It has been engraved by Marly Lagnado, an apprentice at local stonemason Matthias Garn and Partner. We are very grateful for their enthusiasm and expertise, providing a seat from which everyone can enjoy the view of Jubilee Pasture and the surrounding landscape.
The interpretation board encourages visitors to appreciate the natural heritage of Jubilee Pasture and the history of the landscape around the site. There are illustrations of wildflowers to help people identify some of the conspicuous flowers seen from spring to late summer in the meadow area. Local artist Robert Crow painted the view seen from Jubilee Pasture. This beautiful panorama runs across the bottom of the board and captions indicate points of historical interest found in this landscape.
late August 2023 Cutting and baling. It has been wet this month so a bit later than normal, the meadow area has been cut as hay, turned and baled. We are very grateful to Ian and Russell Grice for going to this extra effort to help ensure the wildflower seeds have the best chance of forming a new generation of flowers next year.
Ideally, for wildflower diversity, the hay cut would be followed by grazing. That can't be done this year due to changes in Halifax Estate tenancies. Hopefully it can be arranged in future years.
10 September 2023 Erection of small nest boxes and further planting. Three small nest boxes were hung on trees within the wooded area. They are made of woodcrete which is squirrel-proof and won't rot. They were mounted with aluminium nails which won't harm the trees.
Locally sourced sweet violets and common dog violets were planted in the areas cleared of cleavers at the last volunteer session. A few honeysuckle were also planted with the hope that they will climb up the young aspen suckers which have died off.
A small number of plants were introduced around the pond, with the majority still waiting for the stones to be arranged. These were raised from seed collected from local plants. They were hemp agrimony, water figwort, water avens and common valerian. Water figwort is already present at Jubilee Pasture but the extra plants were sourced from further downstream so they are probably genetically similar.
9 October 2023 Planting by Bugthorpe C of E School. Pupils from our local school spent the morning planting great burnet plants raised from seed collected from Jubilee Pasture last summer. We hope this will help this late-flowering species spread to new areas of the site. Once established in a spot it can live for many years, spreading shorter distances by rhizomes.
An ice-cream van turned up on site to make this a special occasion as we near the (extended) end of the phase of the project which has been funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
29 October 2023 - Shrub protection and grass cutting. Recent heavy rain had waterlogged the soil, with pools of standing water indicating why floodplain meadow plant species are found at the site. Wellies donned, volunteers constructed mesh cages to protect some of the shrubs as browsing has affected growth since they were planted last year. Somewhat later than planned, a start was made on cutting the grass between the newly planted trees. This will be finished in the coming weeks. The aim is to reduce competition for the trees while young and try to maintain the meadow plant species diversity.
A community project to create a special place for people and wildlife
Thanks to National Lottery Players